Make Every Effort

By in Devotions

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:9-13

Insight

Rest always feels like a place that lies just beyond our reach. We think that as soon as we get things under our control then we will experience those precious moments of rest. Unfortunately, it never comes because as soon as we get things under control the other shoe drops and things become out of control again.

Yet, we foolishly try to arrange our lives to control everything. We don’t want to be dependent on others. We think having everything under our control will lead to peace and rest. However, it leads to anxiety, stress and will eventually lead to pure insanity. Many of our lives are defined by endless worrying and constant striving. The reality is we live in a crazy world going at an insane pace. If we keep this up, we will end up on the funny farm.

But, there is something more devastating that takes place when we seek security on our own terms and at our own pace. We stop short of what God intended for our lives. This internal sense of security is impossible to find from a human perspective. So, we grab a hold of everything we can to make us think we are at rest when in reality we are clinging, tense and tight.

Instead of resting in the security God provides, we rest in the place we were able to get ourselves through our own effort. We settle for productivity. However, the more productive we become doesn’t cause us to slow down, but rather accelerate even more. The greatest danger is settling for good when God has designed us for some level of greatness and Kingdom impact. Sadly, we miss out on arriving in the place God intended. This isn’t new. The Israelites suffered the same problems. God had taken them out of slavery and was bringing them to a place of milk and honey. But, they had become indifferent. They stopped short. Every man was doing what he thought was right in his own eyes.

Scripture tells us to trust in the Lord with all our heart, lean not on our own understanding and do not be wise in our own eyes. Leaning on our own understanding has us living backwards. We reason when we get everything secure then we will find rest. But God says: when you rest in me, then I will give you the security you seek. He gives you rest so that you can live with security. Rest isn’t about efficiency. Neither is it about performance. Rest is about a relationship.

In Hebrews, the author urges us to be diligent to “enter His rest.” There is a place of rest that exists for each one of us. We’ve got to be fearful that we’ll stop short of experiencing this rest. A lot is at stake. The Israelites didn’t manage to enter God’s rest. Why not? It was due to their disobedience and lack of faith.  They weren’t united in faith.  They nodded their head but did nothing about it. They didn’t put themselves in a position to trust. They complained and grumbled about God’s provision. They failed to submit to His authority.

We must be diligent to enter His rest and be fearful that somehow we will miss what He wants to do in us, with us and through us. To make sure we enter His rest, we must carve out time to remember and opportunities to submit. We have to observe some tangible point in time where intimacy with God is on the agenda.

Our mind can handle a hundred images at one time, but our hearts cannot. We have to take the time to rest and get them in alignment. We have to remind ourselves of what He’s done and reflect on who His character.

Create the space to be with God. Take the steps to put it into your way of life.  Everything hinges on our ability to see God. You will not be able to bear the image of God if you don’t know the image you should be reflecting. Scripture talks about one day in His courts being better than a thousand elsewhere. Sabbath rest creates the space to experience that level of intimacy.  We need Him to do something deep within us so that everything we do displays His residency inside of our heart. Rest reminds us that we are not in control and, more importantly, we don’t have to be. To enter His rest is to enter His presence, trust His provision and submit to His authority.

Reflection

  • What does it look like to “make every effort to enter His rest”?
  • Would you label yourself as a worrier? Why or why not? What are some of the thing you worry about?
  • Where do you need to stop striving for control and trust God is in control?

Prayer

God, may I pause so you can do Your work within me. Rather than trying to control my world, I lay it at Your feet knowing You are the one directs my steps. Help me to trust that Your provision is enough. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.